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SD delegation hopes to kick WOTUS to the curb

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem announced her first major congressional action since declaring her intention to run for governor in 2018. Noem, who was re-elected as South Dakota's lone member of the House of Representatives last week, ...

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem announced her first major congressional action since declaring her intention to run for governor in 2018.

Noem, who was re-elected as South Dakota's lone member of the House of Representatives last week, joined U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune and 78 other members of Congress in standing against the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule via a brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The brief was filed Nov. 8, but Noem issued her statement on Tuesday.

The rule has long drawn the ire of South Dakota's Republican congressional delegation, who all spoke out against the rule during an August forum at Dakotafest in Mitchell. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the rule is meant to define and protect tributaries from health hazards, but some see WOTUS as federal overreach.

"The WOTUS rule could become one of the largest federal land grabs in U.S. history," said Noem in the statement. "We are actively working on the legislative front to strike down WOTUS, pushing forward in the face of vetoes and continued opposition from President Obama."

In the brief, Noem and 79 other members of Congress claim the WOTUS rule expands federal jurisdiction over land and water. Despite these claims, the EPA has argued the rule does not have the effect on farmers and ranchers some legislators would have their constituents believe.

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The EPA says the rule would not give federal agencies greater power over water on farms and ranches, would not bring all ditches on farms under federal jurisdiction and does not apply to wet area on fields.

But Noem argued Tuesday the rule must be withdrawn.

"Still, we are exploring all options and with this brief, we make our views very clear to the courts: This rule goes too far and by no means follows congressional intent," Noem said.

Tuesday's announcement from Noem was the first news release issued by her office since she publicized her campaign to replace term-limited Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

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